BioWorld International Correspondent

PARIS - Faust Pharmaceuticals, which is developing therapies for nervous system diseases, completed an €8.2 million insider bridge financing, which is intended to be the first tranche of a €25 million C round funding.

All its existing institutional investors (six Paris-based venture capital funds) participated in the bridge financing, namely Sofinnova Partners, Auriga Partners, Siparex Ventures, Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners, AGF Private Equity and CDC Entreprises - FCJE.

The CEO of Strasbourg, France-based Faust Pharmaceuticals, Thomas Seoh, told BioWorld International that the C round had been formally launched last week and that the road show was only now getting under way. He described the bridge financing as "good-sized" and said the company was using this announcement "to send a beacon for the C round."

Faust, which was founded in October 2001, completed a €3 million initial funding round in April 2002 and a second round in May 2004 that netted it €16 million.

While pointing out that the company's existing investors had signalled their continued support for the company, Seoh said that Faust would need new investors for this round. "It's an important priority to expand the investor base, starting with pan-European funds," he stressed, adding that he was "trying to build an IPO profile for the company by early 2008."

At that point, he would like Faust to have two pivotal drug development programs at the Phase III or Phase II/III stage, with other compounds in the pipeline.

In that regard, he said Faust would embark on a Phase IIb trial of its lead compound, FP0011, at the end of 2006 or in early 2007 and that the trial data would be available 12 months later. FP0011 is a small-molecule glutamate inhibitor that is initially being developed for Parkinson's disease.

Faust has two other compounds in its development pipeline: FP0023, a small-molecule, fetal-gene-activating, utrophin inducer that is scheduled to enter the clinic in early 2007 in Duchenne's muscular dystrophy, and FP1770, a small-molecule mGluR 4/8 group III selective agonist that is scheduled to enter preclinical development early next year in Parkinson's disease.

In addition, Faust is pushing ahead with its Neuroclid G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) platform aimed at identifying particular allosteric modulators and "de-orphanizing" GPCRs. The company also intends to in-license additional clinical-stage compounds.

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